French actor Gérard Depardieu has been placed under formal investigation for rape and sexual assault allegedly committed in 2018, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday. French daily Le Monde also cited an unnamed judicial source confirming AFP’s account.
An initial investigation into the rape accusations against Depardieu, 72, was dropped in 2019 for lack of evidence but reopened last summer, leading to a formal investigation filed on December 16, the source said.
The alleged victim is an actress in her 20s. She accuses Depardieu of having raped and assaulted her at his Parisian home in August 2018. Depardieu is a family friend, a source close to the case told AFP.
The woman’s lawyer, Élodie Tuaillon-Hibon, said she hoped her client’s “private life will be respected” as the case unfolds.
Depardieu’s lawyer, Hervé Temime, told AFP that he “completely rejects the accusations” and remains free but under judicial supervision.
Depardieu lost out on an Oscar in 1991 for his performance in “Cyrano de Bergerac” after an outcry over an interview with Time magazine in which he claimed he had witnessed many rapes during his dirt-poor childhood.
“I say a lot of stupid things,” the actor later said, trying to limit the damage.
A mistranslation of one of his quotes also wrongly suggested that he took part in a rape when he was only 9.
In 2005 while out shopping with a young woman in Florence, Depardieu got into trouble for headbutting a journalist taking photos of the couple. Dario Orlandi said the actor had beckoned him over before butting him in the face.
The actor skipped a court hearing but was found guilty and fined €800.
Depardieu made global headlines in 2011 when, on a flight from Dublin to Paris, a flight attendant barred him entry to the toilet during take-off. Apparently unable to restrain himself, he urinated into an empty bottle in the aisle, causing a spillage on the carpet when the bottle overflowed.
Take-off was halted and Depardieu was escorted off the plane. “I’m not a monster,” he later told a US talk show. “I’m just a man who wants to pee.”
The actor sparked outcry a couple years later by taking Russian nationality in 2013 in protest at a proposed French tax on the rich.
President Vladimir Putin treated him to dinner to present him with his new citizenship and Depardieu was gushing in his praise of the Russian leader. “The Russian nation needs a person just like this – with a Russian temper. Putin is trying to return a bit of dignity to the people.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)